An overwhelming majority of Israelis believe that the current closure on the Gaza Strip is not effective, and that Hamas is getting stronger, according to a poll released Wednesday by Gisha-The Legal Center for Freedom of Movement and Physicians for Human Rights in Israel.
“The decisive majority of Israelis believe that the closure is primarily harming civilians in Gaza and is driving them to extremism,” the two groups said in a press release. “The closure is harming Israel’s standing in the world and it will not cause Gaza residents to change the Hamas regime.”
Additionally, 53% of respondents said the closure’s goals were political and not security-oriented. Just 32% said they believed the closure was intended to prevent the movement of goods and people that would threaten Israeli security. Ten percent believed the goal of the closure was to punish Gazans because of the Kassam rocket fire. Twenty-six percent said that the goal was to cause Gaza residents to change the Hamas regime, and 27% said the goal was to influence Hamas directly and cause it to change its policies.
“The survey clearly shows that Israelis do not believe that the policy of pressuring Gaza residents is effective,” said independent pollster Dahlia Scheindlin.
And here’s the most encouraging part:
A majority of those polled said they did not believe support for Palestinian human rights was anti-Israel. Seventy-six percent said Gazans deserved human rights, while 57% disagreed with a statement that those who advocated for human rights on behalf of Palestinians were anti-Israel. Thirty-nine percent said such advocates were anti-Israel.
I’m maintaining a believe-it-when-I-see-it stance on the Gaza ceasefire, but the more we can publicize the fact that a majority of Israelis are opposed to their government’s actions, the more likely we are to make change.
…of course, 57% is a little low for what I see as a completely sensible statement, and it’s still depressing that about a quarter believe that Palestinians don’t deserve human rights. Let’s work with what we’ve got, I guess.